'Loverly' singer wins the hearts of judges


Taking her lead from Eliza Doolittle, nine-year-old Lucy Sherman stole the show at the final of Emunah's Young Singer of the Year, held on Sunday at the Royal Academy of Music in central London. The Leeds Brodetsky Primary pupil's bravura performance of Wouldn't It Be Loverly? - during which she distributed tulips among the audience - captured the hearts of the crowd and the judges, who awarded her the top prize.

"It's amazing to be here and to have won the award," said a giggling Lucy, the youngest entrant, as she reflected on her triumph. "I just love performing in front of so many people."

She is no stranger to the stage, having toured the UK in A Midsummer Night's Dream and La Bohème. Later this year, she will be on tour again in Opera North's Carousel.

For the judges, opera singer Teresa Cahill complimented the singer on "a complete performance. Lucy was absolutely perfect. We couldn't fault her". JFS student Ruby Jacobs, 17, was runner-up.

The contest was part of the JC-supported Emunah Young Musician of the Year, which was won by Somerset-based violinst Poppy McGhee, 10, playing music from the film, Ladies in Lavender. The head and music director of Poppy's school, Wells Cathedral, were among the audience of 300. They were so impressed by Emunah's work with "at risk" children in Israel - which will benefit from the contest proceeds - that they pledged to hold a fundraiser.

I just love performing in front of so many people

Poppy was also joint winner of the Sara Freedman woodwind prize for a performance on recorder. She shared the award with Leeds oboist Hadassah Litvin, 18.

The judging panel was headed by Professor Robert Saxton, who praised the high overall standard. "It is not just about talent, it is about hard work," he said. The other judges were voice coach Francoise Geller and concert pianist Norma Fisher.

Hasmonean student Joshua Pearl, 15, was presented with the Steven Isserlis Cup, recognising use of music for charitable purposes. A soloist with the London Cantorial Singers, he performs at Jewish Care homes and is head choirboy at Hendon Synagogue.

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